“Kingsman: The Golden Circle” delivers a lackluster sequel

As a huge fan of the original Kingsman movie, I went into the sequel with high hopes. Well-designed action, a far-fetched, nefarious scheme, an interesting villain, and daring spy work pretty much summed up the original, so those elements were what I expected from the feature. With my biases in mind, let’s see how it panned out. Be forewarned, this review isn’t spoiler-free for either film.

The Golden Circle follows its predecessor, beginning about a year after the events of Kingsman: The Secret Service. The world has calmed from a scheme by evil internet genius Richmond Valentine, and our protagonist Eggsy (Taran Edgerton) has continued his work both in the Kingsman private intelligence agency and his relationship with the Princess of Sweden, Tilde (Hanna Alström). The agency soon comes under attack from another evil foe, this one using her grasp on the international drug trade in an attempt to legitimize her face as the world’s most prosperous businesswoman. In a mishmash of opening sequences, the Kingsman organization is brought to its knees, forcing the survivors to reach out to their American counterparts, the Statesmen.

What follows is a thin but intriguing plot taking Eggsy and his companions to several exotic locations featuring well-choreographed and shot action sequences and some interesting visual flare. Of all the features in this movie, the action is what deserves the highest praise. Just like its predecessor, it was done spectacularly, with the over the top style that fans loved brought back with the same amount of success.

The overall plot skates on thin ice, with several different subplots convoluting and never really being given the full attention they deserve. A weaker villain this time helps make the story feel less enjoyable as well, with Julianne Moore’s Poppy having a difficult time holding her own as a character when compared to the more developed heroes of our tale.

My biggest knock on the film, however, is its dependence upon the first. While the story can stand on its own with only a few scant references to the original, a fair amount of scenes and dialogue are ripped straight from the first movie and recycled back at us. The first few come off as nice little touches, but after a while these nods to the predecessor become full on headbutts, knocking you out of the experience. A decent cameo by Elton John gives some enjoyment, but it isn’t quite enough to shake off the stunted story and rehashed scenes.

Kingsman: The Golden Circle isn’t the best movie I’ve seen all year, and unfortunately when compared to the original as the director seemed to want it to be, it hardly captures the imagination in the same way. It’s a fantastic action movie with good acting, but a weak script and poor structure hinder it from becoming a truly good movie.

   3 out of 5 Spurs.